Uncle Nearest Whiskey Pays Homage To The First Known African-American Master Distiller

Photo:  Rafa Elias (Getty Images)

Even if you’re not a fan of whiskey, you’ve probably heard the name Jack Daniel before. The Tennessee icon is the namesake of the iconic Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. But, if you’re like many people you probably heard the name Nathan “Nearest” Green for the first time while watching the Super Bowl. That’s because Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey aired its first major commercial during the big game. Green was actually the first ever master distiller at Jack Daniel’s, a fact that was lost in history until recently.

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Nathan “Nearest” Green was a former slave and the man who taught Jack Daniel how to distill whiskey. He’s also the man who helped to invent the “Lincoln County Process” of whiskey distillation in which its charcoal filtered. Most of us now know this as Tennessee whiskey.


In case you missed it, Emmy award-winning actor and Westworld star Jeffrey Wright narrated a commercial for Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey during the Super Bowl. The commercial tells the story of the Uncle Nearest team as it travels around the country explaining the story of the Green, the first African-American master distiller in history and how important he was to the whiskey we know and love today.

“Many don’t know the home on our bottle is a real place,” said Fawn Weaver, co-founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest, Inc. in a press release. “That home sits on a farm, in the hills above Lynchburg, Tennessee, and looks today just as it did when Nearest Green distilled his premium whiskey on the property more than 160 years ago.”

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It took over two years to restore the property, but Weaver wanted the whiskey to be as authentic as possible. The whiskey itself is distilled, aged, and bottled in Tennessee using only locally sourced grains. The award-winning whiskey is 100 proof and is available at retailers nationwide.